Owners found not to have microchipped their cat will have 21 days to have one implanted, or face a fine of up to £500.
Cats Protection, which has campaigned for years for the measure, says the new regulations will be a major step forward for cat welfare in England.
According to its research, 2.8 million or roughly 26% of the UK's 10.8 million pet cats are not currently microchipped.
Animal Welfare Minister Lord Goldsmith said: "These new rules will help protect millions of cats across the country and will be brought in alongside a range of other protections we are introducing under our Action Plan for Animal Welfare.
The Government is also reviewing the regulations on dog microchipping and the related microchipping database systems to consider whether improvements can be made.
The new cat microchipping rules will come into force once this review has completed.
The collection includes articles from BSAVA’s Companion magazine, webinars, and Congress lectures, covering topics such as ‘What does environmentally-friendly look like in practice?’, ‘20x20 visions of a greener future now’, and ‘One Health, One Planet: Why sustainability is a necessity’.
The collection builds on the work of the BSAVA Sustainability Working Group (SWG), which was formed to help small animal practices on their sustainability journey.
Carl Gorman, Junior Vice President of the BSAVA and Chair of the SWG said: “We are pleased to have created this collection of resources for veterinary professionals.
"It is increasingly important that we ensure sustainable working in small animal practice, and we hope that this collection highlights some of the ways in which staff can really make a difference in their practice”.
The collection is freely available in the BSAVA Library throughout December from: https://www.bsavalibrary.com/content/sustainability-in-practice
To find out more about the BSAVA SWG’s work, visit: https://www.bsava.com/aboutus/sustainability
The two-day ‘Save A Life Today’ (SALT) courses are being run in partnership with the Reassessment Campaign on Veterinary Resuscitation (RECOVER).
Vets and nurses are encouraged to attend together, as well as individually, so that they can go back to practice and share their learning as a team.
On day one, delegates will cover the practical aspects of resuscitation.
The second day will be focused on effective leadership during and after CPR and the critical care of patients that survive CPR, with an emphasis on techniques used in general practice.
The courses will be led by Emily Thomas BA VetMB FHEA DACVECC DECVECC MRCVS Specialist in Emergency and Critical Care at Dick White Referrals, supported by Kathryn Latimer DipAVN DipHE CVN CertEd CertVN (ECC) RVN, Head of Nursing Services at North West Veterinary Specialists in Cheshire.
Charlotte French (pictured right), Operational Head for Improve International in the UK, said: “When CPR is attempted, it can be stressful and distressing for those involved.
"It’s also a situation in which clear thinking and teamwork can save lives.
"Through our partnership with RECOVER, we hope to increase the competence and confidence of veterinary staff globally in conducting CPR and to facilitate the building of team-working which will radiate into other areas of day-to-day practice."
Emily Thomas said: “CPR training for vets and nurses has traditionally focused on individual tasks such as chest compressions.
"However, we’re now realising that human factors such as organisation, teamwork, and leadership are equally integral to success.
"This is an area of particular interest for me, and I’m hoping to bring some simple, evidence- based ideas to this course to help people improve these non-clinical aspects in their own practices.”
The course is comprised of an online training module, followed by a face-to-face course which together account for 20.5 hours of CPD. Successful delegates will become Basic and Advanced Life Support RECOVER Rescuer Certified.
Developed by Zoetis, Apoquel is a prescription-only Janus kinase (JAK) inhibitor approved for veterinary use that targets the itch and inflammation pathway.
Ben Hurst, Product Manager, Zoetis UK said: "Atopic dermatitis is one of the most common allergies in dogs, affecting approximately 10% of the dog population1.
"Itching caused by an allergic skin disease can impact the quality of life for both the dog and its owner unless they are controlled with effective management.
"Apoquel chewable tablets now offer a new, convenient and palatable solution for dog owners."
Apoquel chewable tablets are administered twice daily for up to 14 days (at 0.4 to 0.6 mg/kg), then once daily for maintenance therapy.
Zoetis says marketing authorisation for the EU market is expected later this year following the Committee for Medicinal Products for Veterinary Use (CVMP) positive opinion received on 7th October 2021.
The new facility will have 9 consultation rooms and 4 theatres, and is expected to open in early 2022.
It will be Animal Trust’s 10th veterinary hospital – with existing locations in Wrexham, Yorkshire and North England.
Animal Trust now employs more than 300 vets and veterinary care staff.
A further 15 jobs will be created in Rhyl when the new hospital opens.
Owen said: “Our ethos has always been that every animal deserves access to experienced and professional veterinary care as soon as they become ill.
"That’s why we offer free consultations for sick and injured animals brought to our surgeries.
"Our clients are from all walks of life and they come to us because of what we stand for and in some cases, for the prices we offer.
“As a CIC, we try and make sure that a comprehensive veterinary service is within reach of as many pet owners as possible.
"We build large veterinary hospitals that will serve the needs of the local pet-owning community and make a positive impact on their lives.
"Our new surgery will allow us to extend our services to the residents of the North Wales coastline, many of whom currently have to travel to one of our other existing surgeries.”
Funding for Animal Trust was provided by the £500 million Wales Flexible Investment Fund.
Sebastian Griffin (pictured right), an advanced practitioner in small animal medicine at Vet4life in London is leading the research alongside Fabio Stabile, an expert in veterinary neurology at Southfields Veterinary Specialists in Essex, and Luisa De Risio, Clinical Research & Excellence Director at Linnaeus and a specialist in veterinary neurology.
Sebastian said: “There is so much more to learn about canine idiopathic epilepsy, to ensure that vets, pets and their owners have the best possible support when dealing with this disorder.
"We want to offer a more targeted, clinically applicable, and relevant approach to its diagnosis and treatment.
“Any vet who has recently treated dogs with idiopathic epilepsy in primary care is invited to respond.
"The survey only takes five to ten minutes but provides us with invaluable information that will help to inform and develop best practice.
"We are planning to share the results, along with educational resources and evidence-based guidelines, with our peers across the industry next year.”
The survey and further information can be found via https://bit.ly/3mfwVRe.
The study and survey results are due to be published in an open access peer-reviewed scientific journal by the end of 2022.
The survey, which is anonymous, closes on 15 January 2022.
The fellowship provides a grant of up to £35,000 for work in companion animal research to be spent over a maximum of two years.
Applications are open to veterinary surgeons who have completed a postgraduate qualification such as a PhD or Masters, and who are within the first four years after starting an academic post (Lecturer, Fellowship or above) and have received no more than £50,000 of funding in competitive external grants to date.
David Killick, Chair of the BSAVA PetSavers Grants Awarding Committee said: “BSAVA PetSavers is delighted to launch the PetSavers Research Fellowship.
"It is well recognised that the journey from completion of a PhD to becoming established as an independent researcher is one of the most challenging times of a researcher career.
“With this new grant BSAVA PetSavers will support exceptional veterinary professionals in the Early Career Researcher phase develop their research ideas by providing £35,000 towards research costs over a two-year period.
"Through this initiative BSAVA PetSavers aims to help these researchers reach their potential and in so doing expand the capacity for companion animal research in the UK.”.
Applications close on 28th February 2022, and a decision will be made by the end of May 2022.
To apply for the Research Fellowship, visit the BSAVA PetSavers website: https://www.petsavers.org.uk/Apply-for-funding/research-fellowship
The teleconsulting service, accessed via the VetCT App, offers general practitioners 24hr clinical advice and support from specialists in all disciplines.
Practices who subscribe to the service can apply for £15 per person of food and drink vouchers for up to 20 people, to enjoy together.
VetCT says it will also be hosting a virtual party for locum vet subscribers want to take them up on the offer.
Victoria Johnson, Founder and Co-Director said: “We wanted to encourage people to get together - in person or virtually - to enjoy some festive treats and all-important social time, especially after a challenging year.
"We also appreciate how reducing staffing over the seasonal holiday period can leave teams stretched, and want to reassure our clients that we’re here to support them, 24/7, throughout the festive season.”
A member from the VetCT team will join the start of each practice party, to explain how versatile the teleconsulting service can be in providing reassurance and support, with answers to quick clinical questions, as well as advising on complex, multi-disciplinary case queries.
For more information, contact: email@example.com using the words ‘Staff Party’ in the subject, or visit www.vet-ct.com for more information.
The first is to confirm officially that Suprelorin, it's non-surgical alternative for neutering male dogs, may be implanted by RVNs under the direction of a veterinary surgeon under Schedule 3 of the Veterinary Surgeons Act.
The company is also hosting two free webinars for nurses to learn more about neutering: The Science of Canine Castration and Practical Tips for Clinics, presented by Dr Michelle Kutzler and Nicola Lakeman on Thursday 9th December 2021, and Behaviour in Post-Pandemic Puppies and Practical Tips for Clinics, presented by Stephanie Hedges and Nicola Lakeman on Thursday 16th December 2021.
Dr Neil Mottram MRCVS, Technical Product Manager at Virbac said: "A huge surge in dog ownership in the last two years, combined with the additional pressures of Covid-19, has massively increased pressures on veterinary teams.
"At the same time we know that pet owner attitudes to surgical neutering is changing with 1 in 3 pet owners saying that they would look at alternative methods to surgical castration1.
"Suprelorin offers practices the opportunity to utilise the skills of their RVNs to provide a choice to clients when it comes to neutering and help to ease pressures on surgical waiting lists".
The elections will again be held completely online this year.
Veterinary surgeons have until 5pm on Monday 31st January 2022 to put themselves forward as candidates for the elections which will take place in March and April 2022.
The full eligibility criteria can be found at: www.rcvs.org.uk/rcvscouncil22, where prospective candidates will also find further information about the role of the RCVS, RCVS Council and RCVS Council members, guidance notes, and frequently asked questions about standing as a candidate.
Eleanor Ferguson, RCVS Registrar and Returning Officer for the elections, said: “We look forward to hearing from prospective candidates and are happy to give further information about what being an RCVS Council member means and what the role entails to those who may be considering standing for office.”
Prospective candidates for RCVS Council can also contact RCVS President Dr Kate Richards for an informal conversation on what it means to be an RCVS Council member on firstname.lastname@example.org
Kate said: “I’m on Council for my second term and can reassure any prospective candidates that it is a wonderful experience, both personally and professionally.
"You will learn new things not only about the College, but also the professions, policy and government; you will have fascinating discussions and debates with colleagues on issues of great importance and consequence; and you will make those important professional 'connections that count' with colleagues across the veterinary world and beyond. It is a career highlight.”
Prospective candidates for RCVS Council are welcome to attend the next Council meeting online, on Thursday 20th January 2022.
Contact Dawn Wiggins, RCVS Council Secretary, if you would like to attend: email@example.com.
This brings the total number of oncology specialists to four, within a service comprising 12 oncology professionals.
After getting her bachelor’s degree in biology from Duke University, Sarah (pictured right) enrolled at the University of Pennsylvania School of Veterinary Medicine, from which she graduated summa cum laude (with highest honours) in 2017.
Sarah stayed on at Penn to complete an internship in small animal medicine and surgery followed by a residency in medical oncology.
She became a diplomate of the American College of Veterinary Internal Medicine in 2021 and joined the team at Davies in October 2021.
Sarah said: “I joined Davies for the opportunity to collaborate with specialists spanning all aspects of veterinary medicine.
“This allows me to provide the best care for my patients and contribute to the future of veterinary medicine.
"It is a privilege to work with so many kind, motivated and intelligent individuals that share these same goals.”
Acepromazine-based Acecare is used alongside other opioids and reduces the amount of anaesthetic necessary to induce anaesthesia by approximately one third.
Animalcare Product Manager Eleanor Workman Wright said: "Practices are looking for greater cost-effectiveness in the products they use and are also keen to reduce waste.
"We are delighted to announce that Acecare, a trusted staple of anaesthetic protocols in use at many practices is now offering improved performance in both of these areas.”
For more information, contact your Animalcare Territory Manager or contact Animalcare’s head office on 01904 487687.
BSAVA PetSavers is funding a research project at the University of Liverpool designed to help vets and owners provide the best care for senior and geriatric dogs.
In the first part of the study, veterinary professionals were interviewed about the services currently provided to senior dogs and their owners regarding preventative healthcare, treatment, and advice.
Owners were interviewed about their experiences of living with and accessing veterinary care for senior dogs.
The results of these interviews were then used to develop the online survey which researchers now need vets to take part in, to validate the interview findings in a quantitative way.
Dr Carri Westgarth said: “The veterinary survey focuses on the perceived barriers to care for senior dogs, end-of-life care including quality-of-life, and the potential design of the BSAVA PetSavers guidance tool.
"We would be grateful if any veterinary professional could take a few minutes from their day to help us with this project.”
The survey should take around 20–25 minutes to complete.
Survey participants will also have the opportunity to win an Amazon voucher.
The survey can be accessed here: https://bit.ly/PetsaversOAPVetSurvey.
Unlike a normal 2D X-ray system, Adaptix's system fires very low-flux X-rays from many different positions in a sequence.
This allows the system to reconstruct a stack of slices through the patient which can be reviewed like the coronal slices from a CT scan, with only marginally more of a dose than a single 2D X-ray.
Adaptix says this means each side of the jaw can then be seen separately and clearly, in a much easier workflow than taking multiple intraoral 2D X-ray images.
Dr Conrad Dirckx, Director of Product Management at Adaptix said: "The system is both lightweight and simple to install in an existing radiology or treatment room, and it is also very useful for orthopaedic imaging.
"It reduces the workflow time for dental imaging from about 12-20 minutes to less than three.
"On top of that, it offers veterinary surgeons access to advanced 3D imaging for most complex orthopaedic cases without having to buy a CT scanner and sacrifice a treatment room, or refer the patient away."
The system is also being offered with an innovative pay-per-study pricing model, through which Adaptix installs the system with no capital outlay, and charges on a 'per-study' basis which also covers maintenance.
The system is available from Clark Dental Veterinary: www.clarkdentalveterinary.co.uk.
For more information, visit: adaptix.com
The College sold the premises in March this year, with an option to lease it back for up to two years, giving time for Council to consider the future building requirements of the organisation and how they might have changed following the coronavirus pandemic.
Following easing of government restrictions this summer, the RCVS says that Council members and staff have started using the building for some meetings and day-to-day working, but occupancy has not yet returned to pre-pandemic levels.
RCVS Council therefore agreed at its meeting earlier this month that there is now a clear financial benefit to moving out at the first opportunity under the existing terms of lease.
Lizzie Lockett, RCVS Chief Executive, said: “As we all gradually emerge from the restrictions of the past 18 months, one of the things we, as an organisation, have learned from the pandemic is that we can cope well with remote and hybrid working, whilst continuing to provide a high level of service to the professions and the animal-owning public.
“Retaining the use of our current offices over the last few months has certainly helped us to do this, but our Estates Strategy Group recommended to Council that there was now little to be gained and much to lose financially if we continued to lease Belgravia House for another year.”
“In the coming weeks, we will be drawing up detailed plans for the safe removal and storage of our effects, including the library, historical collection and archives, which are maintained by RCVS Knowledge.
"To support the team until we can move into a permanent building, we will hire serviced office space and meeting rooms around London and elsewhere in the UK as and when we need them.
“We also plan to take Council meetings ‘on the road’ over the next 12 months to enable Council members to engage with more veterinary surgeons and veterinary nurses around the country.
“Meanwhile, we remain fully committed to the purchase of a new permanent London home for the RCVS and are seeking a building that not only meets the needs of the professions both now and well into the future, but also aims to be a sound financial investment for the College in the years ahead.”
The webinar, ‘Dealing with Difficult Situations’ will take place on Tuesday 7th December at 7.15pm and will feature veterinary surgeons who themselves recently joined the Register giving examples of challenging situations they faced, how they dealt with them, what they learned and how it changed the way they practise.
Gemma Kingswell, RCVS Head of Legal Services (Standards), said: "We recognise that starting in your first job as a veterinary surgeon is very exciting, but that the first few months in practice can be daunting too as you encounter challenging situations for the first time.
“This webinar aims not only to provide some practical guidance on how to deal with difficult situations in a pragmatic way should they arise, but also provide some reassurance that you are not alone in facing them.
"The webinar will also explore how the speakers have reflected on the difficult circumstances they have encountered in order to build up the knowledge, confidence and resilience to deal with similar situations in the future.”
Among those sharing the situations they’ve encountered are: Izzy Hocking, Hannah Prestwood and Bolu Eso.
They will be covering topics including the provision of pragmatic care, how to have difficult conversations with clients and how to handle client confidentiality.
Gemma will then explore the scenarios further in relation to the Code of Professional Conduct and what it says about how best to handle such difficult situations.
To sign up to the webinar visit: www.rcvs.org.uk/news-and-views/events/difficult-situations.
Those who are interested in attending can also submit questions about the Code and supporting guidance in advance via the Eventbrite registration page.
There will also be opportunities to ask questions throughout the event.
For those who aren’t able to make it on the day, a recording of the webinar will be made available shortly afterwards via the RCVS website.
Felpreva is the first spot-on parasiticide for cats that covers tapeworms in addition to other endoparasites including gastrointestinal roundworms and lungworms, and ectoparasites (fleas, ticks and mites) for up to three months with a single dose.
It is licensed for treatment of cats with, or at risk from, mixed parasitic infestations/infections, including:
Matthieu Frechin, Vetoquinol CEO, said: “Marketing authorisation is a pivotal achievement for both Vetoquinol and Felpreva.
"It is a breakthrough treatment with convenience and simplicity of use combined with long-lasting efficacy.
"We believe that Felpreva will be a real game changer for this area of veterinary medicine, demonstrating our commitment to the parasiticide market.”
It is anticipated that Felpreva will be available in Europe early in 2022.
The 2022 programme will include 17 education streams, covering the veterinary and nursing care of companion animals, together with a stream covering veterinary wellness, leadership and management-related topics.
Speakers include veterinary experts and leaders from around the world, and the expected 2,000+ delegates will be able to collect 14 hours of CPD over the two days.
The VET Festival will also offer a Wellness Hub offering things like yoga, movement and mindfulness sessions alongside the lectures.
There'll be a diverse commercial exhibition, with more than 60 leading veterinary suppliers, and all delegates will also have free admission to the VETFest Live Party Night.
Noel Fitzpatrick, Clinical Chair at Fitzpatrick Referrals, who launched VET Festival in 2015, said: “The last 18 months have been tough for everyone but particularly difficult for veterinary professionals, many of whom were already suffering with challenges to their well-being and mental health because of the pressures of their work.
"VET Festival is an oasis of time during which they can relax and rejuvenate themselves; experiencing continuing professional development that is uplifting and inclusive and enjoying social activities and companionship that will replenish their souls.”
Tickets for VET Festival can be bought here: https://www.vetfestival.co.uk/delegate-info/ticket-information
Poulvac CVI + HVT Marek’s vaccine provides the combination of the Rispens CVI strain and the HVT strain.
Zoetis says this combination of serotypes has long been recognised for providing strong, reliable protection against the disease, effective even against the very virulent pathotype of the virus.
John Kenyon, Zoetis National Veterinary Manager for Poultry said: "Marek’s disease remains a major problem for the poultry industry.
"To increase protection, it is a good idea to combine the CVI and HVT vaccine strains, and the new supplies of our vaccine help to make this more feasible.
“Currently in some longer-lived broilers and backyard laying hens a vaccine composed of just a single serotype is used, but it is advantageous to use a combination of serotypes to boost immunity further.”
Marek’s vaccination with Poulvac CVI + HVT can be performed in the hatchery at day of age via subcutaneous or intramuscular injection.
The Zoetis vaccine is supported with a range of services, including hatchery and vaccine audits, vaccine training and technical assistance.
MsRCVS Sean Cleary and Richard Thomas, and accountant Jane Platt have opened their first practice, Burford Lane Vets in Cheshire, and now plan to open 10 more practices over the next five years, two in Spring 2022
Burford Lane Vets is headed up by Pieter De Villiers MRCVS, who has become an equity owner, supported by a team of nine vets, nurses and receptionists.
Sean said: “Our vets benefit from our many years of clinical, financial, human resources and procurement experience and have the opportunity to add the finishing touches to a state-of-the-art practice, where no expense has been spared on the fit out and equipment.
"Everything from finding a property, negotiating the lease, fitting out the practice and health and safety is taken care of.
"It means our equity partners can enjoy being fantastic vets and reap the financial rewards that brings, and we are here to support the practice and take care of all the administration, procurement, marketing and everything else that goes into running a successful business."
Sean added: “We have benefited from the shift in the industry that saw veterinary groups acquired by large corporate businesses.
"However, this has inadvertently made it difficult for the next generation of vets to follow the traditional route of buying into a practice as they progress from a junior role to partner, as corporate interest has pushed the values of practices to unaffordable levels for most vets.
"We want to bridge that gap and give a leg up to vets who want to be masters of their own destinies, without the difficulty of starting from scratch or having to find a huge initial investment.”
Sean says he thinks there are a great many vets who would like to launch their own practice.
However, starting from scratch is fraught with risk, expense, and complexity.
Sean added: “Our innovative model helps great vets set up in business as leaders of their own practice and our unique offering is already attracting interest from high-calibre individuals.
"We would encourage any colleagues out there who feel they would like to join us in our new venture to get in touch via our website.”
Sean concluded: “The business acumen we have built up over our many years of working in the industry enables us to provide practical support, mentorship and guidance for vets through every step of the process, and that’s something we’re passionate about.
"The directors will be working across all practices to provide support whenever it’s needed. We are in it for the long haul, not just the initial set up stage, and we will become a part of every practice that opens.
“We take a real pride in being the solution to fix the broken practice ownership model and North Star Vets will empower ambitious vets to enjoy a better and more successful future, which in turn will translate into the standard of care our clients enjoy.”
Andra-Elena Enache and Savina Gogova join the head of service Richard Everson, an RCVS and European Recognised Specialist, to form one of the strongest ophthalmology teams in the UK.
Richard said: “It is fabulous that Andra and Savina were both successful in their specialist examinations.
“Of course, we already knew their expertise but passing the examination requires not just an unparalleled knowledge of their subject but also the constitution that allows them to prove their knowledge, skills and professionalism in the crucible of the examination environment.
“For both Andra and Savina to pass at the first time of asking is remarkable and just confirms their brilliance. It’s also a big boost for NDSR.
“Having three internationally-recognised specialists in ophthalmology in one hospital makes the service so much more resilient; for example, we will never have to close due to annual leave or lecturing commitments.
“This strength in depth means we really can offer the best possible service to our referring vets and poorly pets.”
For more information, visit: www.ndsr.co.uk.
The College says the consultation, which closes on 22nd December, reflects its commitment to keep reviewing its requirements for newly-qualified VNs to ensure they remain up-to-date and reflect the standards and expectations of current veterinary nursing practice.
Participants will be asked to comment on a proposed new set of requirements, which is divided into three parts:
Day One Competences: the minimum essential competences that the RCVS expects all student veterinary nurses to have met when they register, to ensure that they are safe to practise on day one.
Day One Skills Lists: the essential clinical skills that veterinary nurses are expected to possess on entering clinical practice.
Professional behaviours and attributes: this encompasses the behaviours newly-qualified veterinary nurses are expected to demonstrate on entering the profession.
Julie Dugmore, RCVS Director of Veterinary Nursing (pictured right), said: “With this consultation we want to gain an effective representation of what the professions desire from future RVNs in term of their range of skills and knowledge and professional behaviours from their first day in clinical practice.
"Any feedback we receive on the proposed new requirements will be vital in helping to ensure that student vet nurses receive the appropriate education and training, and that our RVNs are fully prepared and armed with what is necessary to thrive in and add value to current veterinary clinical practice.
Once the consultation is complete, the responses will be reported to the working group, which will then have a final opportunity to amend and agree the proposals, before being submitted to VN Council for consideration.
The aim is that VN Council will agree to the new version of the requirements in its February 2022 meeting.
The deadline for completing the consultation is 5pm on Wednesday 22 December 2021. A PDF document with the proposed new requirements as well as the link to the online survey can be accessed from www.rcvs.org.uk/VNdayone.
To take part, visit: www.rcvs.org.uk/VNdayone
Mike Gooding, chairman of organiser RAFT Solutions said: “High precision methods are critical to the future of UK livestock farms and their vets.
“The event offers an A-list of international speakers to explain the opportunities presented by precision management techniques that can be applied in practice to any livestock enterprise.”
One example is early detection of sub-optimal animal performance and timely intervention, which is included in the session: ‘Big Tech and what it offers Precision Livestock Farming’.
The session will explore the use of data to empower precision decisions with Prof Jasmeet Kaler from University of Nottingham.
There will also be an open debate about consumer perceptions, legislative governance, and impacts upon or opportunities for farmers and vets.
Mike added: "All conference-goers, whether attending in person or on-line, will be challenged to adapt their thinking and focus on post-conference changes for the better."
A choice of one- or two-day tickets is available at connectmyevent.com/raftsolutionsltd/plfip2021.
The College says the reforms will make for a clearer and more streamlined process, and offer an alternative, more compassionate way of resolving cases that might otherwise go to a full Disciplinary Committee hearing.
The College will now establish ‘Stage 1 Preliminary Investigation Committees (PICs)’ to replace the current Case Examiner Group stage of the concerns investigation process.
Eleanor Ferguson, RCVS Registrar, said: “Setting up Stage 1 PICs will streamline and clarify the early stages of the concerns investigation process and could also potentially, once sufficiently bedded in, reduce the amount of time taken for a number of cases.
“Currently, Stage 1 of a concerns investigation is carried out by a Case Examiner Group who determine if there is an ‘arguable case’ for serious professional misconduct before referring it on to the Preliminary Investigation Committee.
"However, under these reforms, the Stage 1 PICs will close cases where there is no realistic prospect of finding a case of serious professional misconduct.
"Where cases require formal statements and/or expert opinion they will be referred on to Stage 2 PIC to determine if, based on the additional evidence gathered, a case is serious enough to warrant referral to either the Charter Case Committee [see below], or a full, public Disciplinary Committee hearing.
“In essence this change means that there will be one consistent threshold of seriousness in all our investigations, meaning it is likely that fewer cases will be unnecessarily referred to Stage 2 of the process.”
The second reform involves the implementation of the new ‘Charter Case Protocol’ to provide an alternative way to resolve suitable cases meeting certain criteria which, though they meet the threshold to go to the Disciplinary Committee, it is considered that the public interest can still be served without a full hearing.
The ‘Charter Case Committee’ to which these cases will be referred will be able to issue written warning notices.
Eleanor added: “The establishment of the Charter Case Protocol and Committee is important for the RCVS in being able to get the balance right between upholding professional conduct standards and protecting animal health and welfare and public confidence in the professions, while also being a compassionate regulator.
“The type of cases we envisage being dealt with by the Committee are those where the conduct of the veterinary surgeon or veterinary nurse has fallen far short of what is expected of them under the Code, but where there is no ongoing risk to animal welfare or public confidence, and where the level of insight and contrition about their conduct is such that it can be resolved without the need for an onerous, stressful and expensive Disciplinary Committee hearing.
"We estimate that the Charter Case Committee will deal with around 20 such cases per year.
“Of course, the most serious cases of professional misconduct, for example around dishonesty and criminality, will continue to be referred to Disciplinary Committee hearings.
“It is worth noting that Charter Case Protocol and Committee are working titles, describing the fact that we are implementing this process under the remit of our Royal Charter.
"RCVS Council has agreed that the name should be changed in due course to something that better reflects its function and remit."
Unlike the Disciplinary Committee, the Charter Case Committee will not issue to the press the full details of cases as a news article.
Instead, it will publish a warning notice on the RCVS website summarising the area of concern, the relevant sections of the Code that were breached and supporting guidance it referred to, and the reasons for issuing the warning.
These warning notices will remain on the RCVS website for a maximum of two years and will not change the registration status of the individual.
The College says that the reforms are likely to take some months to implement and it will be looking to recruit additional Preliminary Investigation Committee members in due course.
Research shows that over 60% of cast-treated pets get additional injures, such as pressure sores, from traditional plaster casts1.
The new cast is designed to tackle these issues with anatomically shaped bi-valve splints that are based on 30,000 3D scans of animal limbs.
Upets TLC products are made from FDA and CE approved Woodcast material used in human casting and splinting.
Bandages, padding and tape are replaced with a soft, self-cohesive Unitex fabric that passes moisture and dries fast.
TLC products are engineered for easy destabilisation by removing parts of the splint, and the same product can be used throughout the whole treatment.
Orthopets, a subsidiary of the materials company Dassiet, says that breathable, lightweight materials combined with the anatomical fit help prevent sores and restore normal position and movement of the limb.
OrthoPets founder Martin Kaufmann said: “The common cast is very problematic, but we've lacked better alternatives. Now, with the Dassiet supermaterials and OrthoPets’ vast experience in veterinary biomechanics we have re-engineered the common cast.
"Upets TLC is anatomical and safe. It’s stress-free for both the vet and the pet. It brings veterinary casting to the modern day and offers a better standard care option for all vets and orthopaedic surgeons out there.”
"Sores, pain and stiffness are always on the horizon with casting. But if we take the cast off too early, the leg can be injured again because of lack of proper support. UPETS tackles these problems all at once. I find it easy to apply the pre-shaped casts even for very small or large dogs and make adjustments if needed. I can watch my patients walk off the clinic normally with their cast, knowing they can wear it safely until fully healed. We see significant and immediate improvement in patients compared to the common cast”, says Dassiet Chief Veterinarian Jouni Niemi, who oversees the clinical research of UPETS.
For more information, visit: www.upets.vet/TLC
Publishing Editor: Arlo Guthrie
Clinical Editor: Alasdair Hotston Moore MA VetMB CertSAC CertVR CertSAS FRCVS
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